Since the 1970s, Dutch photographer Bertien van Manen has created intimate and poignant photographs of commonplace scenes, produced during extended trips to Europe, America, China and the former Soviet Union. van Manen has established herself as a unique voice in documentary photography, her visual language imbued with empathy and respect for the everyday lives of her subjects. This book presents an extensive overview of van Manen’s work, alongside diary entries and previously unpublished selections from her archive.
The book has been edited and designed by renowned Dutch designer Hans Gremmen to offer a unique insight and overview of van Manen’s history, establishing this publication as the ultimate reference work on her oeuvre.
About the Author
Bertien van Manen (born 1942) is a Dutch photographer. She started her career as a fashion photographer, after having studied French and German languages and literature.
She had her first exhibition in The Photographers’ Gallery in London in 1977 and since then her work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Fotomuseum Winterthur. Van Manen’s work is found in major public collections.
Inspired by Robert Frank’s The Americans, van Manen switched from fashion photography to a more documentary approach, she travelled around, photographing what she saw. She uses an inexpensive snapshot camera to take photos of people she meets, as she feels that these cameras allow her subjects to consider “me as a tourist or friend, who likes to take pictures.” She has photographed extensively in China, the Appalachian Mountains in the US and the former Soviet Union.
She worked on commission and for long running projects, such as A Hundred Summers, A Hundred Winters (1991) about the post-Soviet states, East Wind, West Wind (2001) about China, Give me your Image (2006) about Europe, Moonshine (2014) with photographs of mining families in the Appalachian Mountains, and Beyond Maps and Atlases (2016) from Ireland.
In 2011 Let’s Sit Down Before We Go was published by MACK, edited by Stephen Gill. In 2017 I Will be Wolf was published by MACK, edited by Stephen Gill.